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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA trustees approve $1.5 million for the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture to be hosted by Hawaiʻi in June

HONOLULU (March 6, 2024) – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs will be noted as a major sponsor of the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders when Hawaiʻi hosts the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture, commonly known as FestPAC, this summer.

With delegations from 28 Pacific island nations including Australia, Samoa, Fiji, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Palau, Tonga, American Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia, and a theme of “Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania,” FestPAC Hawaiʻi 2024 will run at sites across Oʻahu from June 6-16, 2024.

At its February meeting, OHA trustees authorized the disbursement of $1.5 million to help fund FestPAC Hawaiʻi 2024. OHA funds will help support the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, an Ecumenical Service, a Pacific Traditional Leaders Forum, and other event programming during the 10-day festival.

“FestPAC allows us to rekindle and revitalize our relationships with our Pacific Island cousins by strengthening the cultural bonds between us,” said OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey. “Further, FestPAC provides a platform for important discussion on common issues that affect all of us like climate change and sea level rise. OHA is proud to represent a voice for the lāhui in this once in a lifetime opportunity for our state to host this prestigious event.”

The Hawaiʻi Convention Center will serve as the primary venue for events and will host the event’s Festival Village and Marketplace. The festival is expected to draw 100,000 attendees including residents and visitors and nearly 2,500 delegates skilled in traditional arts, crafts, music and dance are scheduled to share their talents with the world at the event.

“The Commission on the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture appreciates the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and their gesture of support toward the hosting of some 2,500 delegates traveling to Hawaiʻi from some 28 Pacific countries in June,” said Hawaiʻi Commission Chair, Kalani Kaʻanāʻanā. “We are excited by this partnership and look forward to the many collaborations for which this support will provide a solid platform.”

A Waʻa Arrival or canoe ceremony will be held June 5 at Kualoa. A film festival, fashion show, theater shows, an Indigenous philosophers conference and a youth ambassador program are also on tap with more than 50 programs or events scheduled.

“We are at a critical junction in the history of our Pacific Ocean and in the lives of those who have called it home for generations, and the necessity to assure that our Native Hawaiian community is at the forefront of this convening is immediate and critical,” said Festival Director Dr. Aaron J. Salā. “We, therefore, send a very sincere mahalo to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their support of the 13th FestPAC.”

FestPAC was launched as a showcase of arts and culture in 1972 when Pacific Island nations focused on the need to preserve and promote their unique cultural identities. The inaugural festival took place in Suva, Fiji. Since then it has been hosted every four years rotating among island nations in Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia.

The last FestPAC was held in Guam in 2016. Hawaiʻi was slated to host the event in 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first time Hawaiʻi will host the event in the 50-year history of FestPAC.

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